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HIV/AIDS Research Gets a Boost through ARRA

Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, PhD

Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, PhD

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 into law to help stimulate the struggling U.S. economy. At the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), part of the NIH, we have used ARRA funds to award high-quality, peer-reviewed grants focusing on research designed to help bring an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic both by finding new ways to prevent infection and to, hopefully, find a cure.

A critical HIV prevention question is: can we identify the populations at highest risk for infection? Using ARRA funds, NIAID is working to answer this question through two clinical trials designed to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a community level approach to HIV prevention and to estimate HIV incidence among African-American gay and bisexual men and African-American women living in geographical areas with high rates of poverty and HIV infection. The results of these two studies could have a profound impact on the future direction of HIV prevention research in the U.S.

ARRA funding is also being used to explore innovative approaches to cure HIV infection. To date, a cure has been impossible because once someone is infected with HIV, the virus tucks itself inside their cells and lays dormant only to re-emerge once antiretroviral treatment has stopped. We still have a lot to learn about this residual virus — called a reservoir — in terms of its cellular location and whether it can be eliminated. The ARRA funds have provided a significant opportunity to launch a number of interesting studies to address this challenge.

With the spread of the 2009 H1N1 influenza and its pronounced impact on pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses, there is an urgency to determine whether investigational flu vaccines currently being tested can also help protect HIV-infected pregnant women and children. ARRA funds have enabled us to move quickly to plan these studies, which will begin soon, and a rapid means of addressing this important issue.

Within two short years, the projects that we have started through ARRA funding will have significantly accelerated our efforts to bring new HIV prevention and treatment methods forward. The opportunities that this funding has provided are helping us take the steps necessary in our continued march to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Comments

  1. It’s great that the fund is helping new HIV virus prevention and treatments methods foward. I hope that we can find out really soon if the H1N1 flu shot can help people with HIV and help protect pregnant women and children. I hope that the two studies that you guys are doing now will help to get more answers about HIV. I’m happy that this is all helping to help end this epidemic.

  2. I am dr sayied easa 60 years old it is important to inform DR Carl that I have the best effort available to solve cpllcated AIDS cure approach concerned with direct getting rid of secondery infections which cause the chronic fatigue syndrom by induction of significant increase of natural killer cells exploiting the NK cells period and stop medication at the period of inhibitio which come next this is applicable for most AIDS patients not all so you can search why this. I have to recommend to mix my herbal preparation with your best antiretroviral so it may lead to a cure for all AIDS patients PLEASE dont insist to be away.

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